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Categories: 2018, Space Situational Awareness

Recent Events and Highlights in GEO SSA

The rate at which space traffic density has increased has seen much acceleration in recent years. It is expected for this trend to continue as various contributors to the commercial space market plan constellations that are orders of magnitude larger than has been flown to date. Commercial companies, such as ExoAnalytic Solutions, have deployed ground based sensors to maintain track custody of these objects. Further, advances in the commercial sector have allowed further increases in the ability to detect and track small pieces of debris at Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO) that have been gone untracked in previous years. Using the ExoAnalytic Global Telescope Network (EGTN), observations of are collected at the rate of over 10 million unique observations per month. The EGTN allows persistent detection, tracking and characterization of nearly all GEO objects and small pieces of debris, collecting data on events that have gone unnoticed in previous years.

This paper will discuss recent events in GEO as collected by the EGTN, including the AMC-9 break-up events in June and July, as well as the Telkom-1 Anomaly. The detailed observations illustrate anomalies and break-ups at GEO that have potential to critically impact other operators at GEO, showing the need for timely, persistent, global SSA with the ability to detect, track, and characterize small pieces in near real-time. Results of recent events and their impact to GEO will be presented. New capabilities currently in development to further refine the EGTN’s ability to detect, track, and characterize events and anomalies at GEO in near real-time will be explored. Finally, future work in applying these throughout the EGTN as well as other optical telescopes will be discussed.

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Author: Brien Flewelling, Ben Lane
Topic: Space Situational Awareness